Friday, July 29, 2022

USA Africa Dialogue Series - If you are scared of heights, you have a mental problem – Psychiatrist by Tony Ademiluyi

Ghanaian Psychiatrist, Dr. Akwasi Osei has stirred the hornets' nest with his latest assertion that if you have acrophobia or the fear of heights then you have a mental health disorder. He made this shocking revelation on GTV.

In his words: "Somebody cannot be on a three or four-storey building and look down. Somebody cannot be on a plane and sit by the window and look down. He/she will feel like the plane is crashing, fear of height is a mental health disorder. But somebody else will not know…so all those and many others are minor mental disorders"

The majority of patients with significant mental problems are individuals who are unaware that they have such a condition, according to the CEO of the Mental Health Authority (MHA).

"There are the major ones the person does not realize he or she has one. Those on the streets dirty and unkempt, drinking from the gutter", he explained.

He claims that mental illness affects more people than only those living on the streets, stressing that both minor and serious cases should not be disregarded.

"Mental illness is not one entity…Malaria is one entity.  There are over 300 conditions that fall under mental illness but we tend to lump them as one condition. You can put all the over 300 conditions under two categories; the major and the minor. The minor ones the person knows he or she has a problem others won't know ",

This disclosure is definitely controversial as it will spark up numerous questions demanding for urgent answers. Many people naturally fear heights as many accidents have happened from fatal falls. Does that mean that these people who have the fear are mentally challenged? We have witnessed cases of some selfie lovers who fall to their deaths when taking pictures of themselves from tall buildings all in their bid to get the perfect pictures.

So, if I decline climbing on Mount Everest or even on Mount Kilimanjaro for fear of missing my steps and falling with the glaring prospect of an imminent death, does that mean I am mentally challenged?

This assertion made by the renowned Ghanaian psychiatrist needs to be challenged by medical experts as we the lay people ought to know if it is factual or not since as said earlier it wracks up lots of controversy and can throw up needless panic since the issue of mental illness especially in Africa is still a rather sensitive topic.

Over to you comrade doctors who are our amicus curie!

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